By Ray Hickson
Trainer Matthew Smith can’t explain why Lashes suddenly lost form in her winter preparation and has the fingers crossed she turns up in the right frame of mind at Randwick on Saturday.
As far as her build up to the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1000m) is concerned, after an impressive trial win, Smith said to his eye Lashes is in A1 condition.
“I think she’s fit and well and I hope she has come back in good order,’’ Smith said.
“The trial was good the other day, James (McDonald) was happy with her and he said she felt great.
“I can’t fault her, she’s just got to go to the races and do it.”
The five-year-old, $3.80 favourite with TAB on Friday, has a strong first-up record and she opened 2020 with an easy win over Adelong and was going so well Smith ended the campaign with a shot at Group 3 level.
When she returned in May she chased the same mare home but two subsequent heavy track failures, conditions she’s revelled in previously, had the Warwick Farm trainer scratching his head.
“She didn’t fire at all,’’ he said.
Lashes wins a trial at Randwick on December 8
“It’s amazing. It’s frustrating because it looked like she was going to keep going through the grades.
“They can do that, some horses. Attorney is another one, last preparation he was horrible and getting beaten in midweeks and now he’s turned it around.”
Lashes has the outside barrier to contend with at the Randwick 1000m but Smith said he’ll leave it to McDonald to navigate as she’s proven effective settling handy and when sitting off a strong tempo.
Stablemate Latina Beauty was scratched from Kensington meeting on Thursday to tackle what Smith says is an acid test in the Schweppes Handicap (1400m) but she couldn’t be tackling it in better form.
The mare, $34 with TAB, is coming off successive Benchmark 68 wins at Wyong and Newcastle.
“I would have liked to have found something a bit easier for her,’’ Smith said.
“She’s drawn a good gate so we’ll give her a shot but it’s probably a bit hard for her. While she is going well we will make the most of it.”
Meanwhile, Attorney is likely to be aimed at the Sydney Cup after ending his spring with his strong Pakenham Cup win while multiple Group 1 winner Fierce Impact returned to Smith’s stable on Monday to begin his final racing preparation.
Smith isn’t concerned about locking in a program for Fierce Impact at this early stage and will see how he progresses in the next month.